Ken Follett: How He Surprised Readers with Pillars of the Earth

In the age of satellite TV, it’s just not possible for audience to remain unaware about the blockbuster Pillars of the Earth. It was not always the same for this book, though. It started to gain prominence through word of mouth, and it made (the word of mouth publicity of the book) the makers of the miniseries confident enough to invest a lot of time and money into the advertising plan. Those who watched the miniseries casually will just look at it as a medieval intrigue story with some swordfights here and there but look deeply and you will realize the (enormity of) source of it was a worldwide bestseller.

Known As a Master of Suspense


Even before the Pillars of the Earth was published, Ken Follett was already an acclaimed writer for having written famous titles such as Eye of the Needle and The Key to Rebecca. Eye of the Needle went to become a hit movie and The Key to Rebecca was converted into a miniseries. Some other superbly written spy fiction strengthened his reputation as a great craftsman of thrillers.

Ken Follett Takes A U-Turn


Ken Follett surprised his readers by completely changing his theme as he came out with Pillars of the Earth, though the subject matter looked dry in the beginning. The story was about building a cathedral in 12th century England, and the book soon gained a cult following among the readers just through word of mouth.

Find Out What Is Transparent Prose


When you start reading the book, it’s difficult to realize the magnitude of task begun, but with 1000 pages to complete, you soon do. Ken Follett himself describes the writing style as transparent prose, through which he just means the readers are able to visualize the story in their minds as they read the book. He has just managed to strike the right balance between the pace of the story and the dialogues. This is the kind of writing that the publishing industry refers to as page turner, and Pillars of the Earth has achieved this distinction.

The 12th Century Creates Itself


Ken Follett made sure the prose he wrote was not full of medieval language and lengthy text while describing the environment of the 12th century. The environment of the era was instead created through the actions and dialogues of the characters themselves, as they progressed through the novel. The event of election of a new prior in Kingsbridge becomes an event keenly followed by the readers as they read about the greedy aristocratic family and the villain archbishop.

Something Huge Happened For Ken Follett


By 2007, something huge happened for both Ken Follett and Pillars of the Earth. The follow up to Pillars of the Earth was published (World without End), and Oprah mentioned Pillars of the Earth in her most watched television programme also. Her interview with the author also gave readers some idea about the insights the author had while writing the book and how he believed the publishing of this title was a miracle in itself. His next title Fall of Giants is also a detailed account of lives going through the twentieth century.

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